This week church was packed when we got there. There was only one service at 11am and I was frustrated we were late, how could that be? We were supposed to meet a boy from our youth club and his family there but finding a seat for the family was all I could do being this late. This time it was not in our usual front left, five or six rows back, it was center section to the right near the front.
When we go to church on Sunday it is an all morning into the afternoon event. We try to get there by 9 a.m. and out by about 1 p.m.. It used to be impossible for me to even consider spending that much time at church. I remember when I was a kid we did the obligatory hour at church then straight home. My brother and I would have contests to see who could get out of our church clothes and into play clothes fastest. I don’t remember anyone who went to my church, the things we did or lessons learned. I am sure we did, it was just not a priority.
Now I don’t want to go to a church where I don’t feel like I am home. I want my friends to be there with me, I want to do life with my church. I realized not long ago that almost all of my friends are from my church. We plan time together, we meet for coffee, we hunt and fish together, we share our pain and passions with each other, real life.
I have heard many times folks that say they don’t need to go to church because they are fine with God and He isn’t in a building. They tell me they don’t want to be a part of a religion. I tell them I agree. I tell them I want a relationship with my God, not a religion too.
When you like golf you hang out at the golf course, you play golf, you watch golf on TV and you begin to surround yourself with friends who understand and enjoy all that is Golf. It is that way in most everything we are passionate about in our lives. I happen to believe when you love the Lord, when you truly seek Him in your life and how you can live for Him, you want to go to church. Now I suppose you could find other ways to fulfill the inner desire to be the best you can be, but the bible has a pretty good track record.
My wife saw them first, when I looked over they were standing right next our pastor, front row. He saw me looking and tapped the boy on the shoulder and pointed me out. I waved to him, his sister and grandpa. When they looked away I began to cry.
I am passionate about God in my life and how He has worked. I want to share the blessing of how living with Him as a guide in all areas makes life so much more rewarding. I really wanted this boy’s grandfather and sister to begin coming to church and feel the love and support that a church family can offer, to do life on that level with them.
If you look at my calendar you would think I am a pretty busy guy. I have a lot of business projects going on in a lot of areas and I love checking things off my to-do list. I spent plenty of years working from sunrise into the wee hours of the night. I am not a financially wealthy guy but I have built and sold a couple businesses, sat on some pretty important boards and was media manager for a multibillion dollar company. Thing is I never feel more fulfilled than when I participate in a church program, talk with someone in need, share Christ with them or when I spend quiet time in prayer.
I trust those who lead my church and that they are teaching me things I need to know to be a better husband, dad, and friend. The bumps and hick-ups I face each day are different than they were before I committed to a new way of doing life. The rewards for teaching that boy and his family about the Lord are so much more than a building made of brick or any physical thing I could possibly acquire with money.
My dear friend and my previous pastor Bob told me once, “when you teach people about God you can affect their lives for eternity.” That is a pretty good return on investment if you ask me and if there is a legacy to leave, that is the one I want.